Attention Melbourne music fans: read on if you want to experience a Death From Above 1979 reunion show, via Brisbane dance/punk two piece DZ Deathrays (formerly just DZ, but more on that insignificant detail later).
“We played our show and then literally ran next door to where Death From Above were playing and the line was massive by then and no one was getting in so we just climbed a fire escape and watched from there. Midway through the set all the people on the outside started pushing on the fence until they tore it down and pushed it [the fence] onto the people on the inside who pushed back. Because of this kinda… tug of war I guess it was, classed as a riot so then all these police arrived on horse back and just stampeded everyone until they stopped trying to get in,” explains DZ Deathrays singer and guitarist Shane Parsons, his voice still buzzing from this experience.
At last month’s South By South West music conference (SXSW) in Austin Texas, where DFA1979 staged the aforementioned comeback show, DZ Deathrays were one Australian act that made an impression on the conference’s much-hardened international media cartel. Parsons now gives some perspective on what it was like for he and drummer Simon Ridley at the eye of the Austin based storm. “It felt really good because the two show’s we did at the end felt like our best shows we’ve done over therel,” he says.
“We’ve been to the US twice now and out of the 16 shows we’ve done over there and those SXSW shows were getting to kinda like what we’d play in Australia.” The casually charged Parsons is walking from his government job in Brisbane as he is recounting DZ Deathrays’ triumphant trip to the US. He now explains exactly what he means by the shows getting more like their shows in Australia. “Especially with our last show,” he says. “We didn’t invite any industry to that show, even though it was our showcase. Instead we’d had all the industry people come to the Aussie BBQ because it was easier to get them along to that.” The Aussie BBQ is an Australian organisation that puts on multiple showcases of Australian bands that head to the US. DZ Deathrays played the New York and Austin legs of this year’s showcase that also featured Cloud Control, Little Red, The Twerps and Miami Horror.
“I think there were just people there to see us. I mean, our previous tour to the US we’d sometimes only play to like 20 people so it was really good to see 100 people at that show who were just there to see us!” To finish on the topic of SXSW, how did he and Ridley know that their show wasn’t full of record execs and industry folk? “You can tell when there’s a lot of record execs and industry people at a show. When I went and saw Pulled Apart By Horses, I reckon about 50% of the crowd were old dudes in suits.”
In early February this year Parsons and Ridley announced that the band would be changing their name from DZ to DZ Deathrays. This was because there is a Canadian Dubstep DJ producer, Sean Harten, who has attained a high international status with the rise of the relatively new dance genre and performs under the name DZ. Even though sonically the Brisbane boys and the Canadian are poles apart, there was some confusion. “After I put a post on our old DZ Facebook page saying ‘I wonder how many people at SXSW will come to see us thinking that we’re Dubstep DZ’ and a guy actually responded with ‘Oh, I thought you were that DZ’ and it was just ridiculous because I don’t know how many videos there are of us up there with two guys playing punk music!”
DZ Deathrays launch their new Brutal Tapes EP at The Tote this Friday April 8 with Ouch My Face, In Tongues and Dune Rats. Tickets are $10.